South Carolina finds all three of its abortion facilities violated state law - suspends two licenses
CHARLESTON, SC, September 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - All three of South Carolina's abortion facilities have violated state law - and Gov. Nikki Haley has issued an order that could close two of them in just over two weeks. And their managers and employees may face criminal charges.
Gov. Nikki Haley announced late Friday afternoon that she had issued Administrative Order of Suspensions against Planned Parenthood of South Atlantic in Columbia and Greenville Women’s Clinic in Greenville and assessed more than $10,000 in fines so far.
The state's Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) found 27 violations in those two offices - 21 at Planned Parenthood alone.
Planned Parenthood was found to have violated the Woman's Right to Know Act five times, failed to prove that its staff was properly trained, kept expired medication on the premises, wrongly disposed of infectious material, and failed to report abortions to the state in a timely manner.
Greenville violated many of the same statues by failing to comply with the Woman's Right to Know Act, keeping incomplete records, and improperly disposing of infectious waste.
All three abortion facilities in the state were found to have violated state law in the way it disposed of aborted fetuses. State law requires that aborted babies must be buried or cremated. But inspectors found that the babies were blasted with steam for sterilization purposes then thrown away in the local landfill.
Planned Parenthood's Columbia location must pay a $7,000 fine, and Greenville must pay $2,750.
The third facility, Women’s Medical Center in Charleston, was found to have had record keeping issues. It must submit a plan to correct reporting errors within 15 days.
Gov. Nikki Haley said the Center for Medical Progress' undercover "videos showing Planned Parenthood employees' horrifying disregard for human life" had "prompted" her to demand the investigation on August 18.
Investigations that took place between August 31 and September 4 "concluded that all three abortion clinics in the state are in fact in violation of South Carolina laws or regulations."
"This is completely unacceptable," she said.
Even then, the abortion facilities may face criminal charges. Haley say the state attorney general's office, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are working in tandem "to review the findings and to determine if criminal action is warranted."
Despite the license suspensions, the facilities may continue operating until September 28, during which time they must show staff is properly trained and present a plan for addressing the rest of the issues.
DHEC Director Catherine Heigel said, "We will work together with each of these facilities to help get them into compliance as quickly as possible."
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic released a statement Friday saying that it was "shocked" to learn of DHEC's decision.
"We are deeply concerned that this investigation is politically motivated and that this political interference could prevent some women from getting high-quality care," said Jenny Black, the group's CEO.
"The health and safety of our patients and the compassionate care that we have provided to thousands of women, men and young people in South Carolina for over 50 years is our top priority," she added. "Our health center was inspected less than a year ago and was found to have 100 percent compliance with all state regulations."
Two companies that transport aborted babies' bodies - Stericycle and MedSharps - must also discuss allegations of impropriety with officials within the next 15 days. The companies could face fines as a result of their role in illegally putting babies into landfills.